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Wasteful Wexford pay the price as Horgan steers Rebels to Dubs' date

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Wexford's David Redmond gets the hand pass away under pressure from Cork's Lorcan McLoughlin during yesterday's NHL Division 1 quarter-final

Wexford's David Redmond gets the hand pass away under pressure from Cork's Lorcan McLoughlin during yesterday's NHL Division 1 quarter-final

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Cork's Daniel Kearney in action against Harry Kehoe of Wexford

Cork's Daniel Kearney in action against Harry Kehoe of Wexford

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Cork's Seamus Harnedy in action against Daithi Waters of Wexford

Cork's Seamus Harnedy in action against Daithi Waters of Wexford

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Wexford's David Redmond gets the hand pass away under pressure from Cork's Lorcan McLoughlin during yesterday's NHL Division 1 quarter-final

You wouldn't have given Wexford any chance at Pairc Ui Rinn if you were told beforehand that they would shoot 18 wides but, remarkably, they were still in contention to the end despite such wayward accuracy.

However, Cork did enough in the end to book a league semi-final encounter with Dublin in three weeks despite they, too, failing to master the swirling wind which spoiled this contest.

Wexford's tally of a solitary point for the entire second half - and even that came from a free - told its own story but they also hit nine wides, four of them from placed balls, in that period.

Cork were also guilty of some poor striking in the difficult conditions and hit 15 wides, but they managed 0-7 against the wind.

Pat Horgan hit five wides, four of them frees, but he still returned 0-10 and that was sufficient to get Jimmy Barry-Murphy's men across the line and set up a rematch with a Dublin side they took apart by 0-34 to 1-20 in Croke Park a few weeks ago.

Barry-Murphy, needless to say, believes that match will have no bearing on the league semi-final, other than a possible backlash from a Dublin side with something to prove.

"They are a very good team and it will be a different game completely. We know that match was no reflection of Dublin's ability. We saw them against Limerick, we all saw them against Galway," he said.

Barry-Murphy reckoned his men have plenty of room for improvement, not least by getting their accuracy level and shot selection back to a higher level. "We made it hard for ourselves at times, some of our play," said Barry-Murphy. "I thought in the first half we had a couple of goal chances which we didn't take that made it difficult for us.

"In the end we fought very, very hard and got some good scores to win it. I am very pleased with the win I have to say. Wexford are a good team, they are difficult opponents and I think down here, they are a better team than people might realise," he added.

Wexford and Liam Dunne could have badly done with at least another match before turning their attention to the Championship, not least as there was a lot to admire in their hurling in the opening half, with corner-back Liam Ryan setting the tone with a great display.

But even with the wind, Wexford were throwing away chances and their shooting after the restart into the wind left a lot to be desired, with the frustration added to by the fact that Cork never really pulled away.

"It is all about taking your chances at this level, being more clinical and we definitely were not clinical today," said Dunne. "We were six up at half-time having scored 13 points, but we probably should have had 17, 18 points on the board. It is not as if we didn't have chances. We had a lot of chances, particularly in front of goal, but just didn't take them. One point from a free in the second half is hugely disappointing."

They enjoyed their best spell after the sides twice exchanged points in the opening seven minutes, with Wexford shooting half a dozen in a row to open up a commanding 0-8 to 0-2 lead after 17 minutes.

Ian Byrne landed a couple of frees and efforts from Conor McDonald, Diarmuid O'Keeffe, Daithi Waters and Garrett Sinnott left them in a good position. But Cork never lost touch and a few scores, including two frees from Pat Horgan before the break, reduced the margin to 0-13 to 0-7 at the interval.

Levelled

That lead was trimmed by early second-half points from Conor Lehane and Horgan before Jack Guiney pointed for Wexford, but that free turned out to be their only score of the half as Cork took over. Horgan levelled the match from play on the left wing with 17 minutes left and while it took the Rebels another seven minutes to forge ahead, they never looked back once Daniel Kearney pointed.

Horgan doubled the lead in the dying moments as both sides missed chances and Paudie O'Sullivan put a goal between them before Seamus Harnedy sealed the issue with his second point in stoppage time.

Man of the Match: Pat Horgan (Cork)

Scorers - Cork: P Horgan 0-10 (0-6f, 1 '65); C Lehane 0-3; S Harnedy 0-2; D Kearney, R O'Shea & P O'Sullivan 0-1 each. Wexford: I Byrne 0-4 (0-3f); C McDonald 0-3; J Guiney 0-2 (0-1f); D Redmond, G Sinnott, D Waters, D O'Keeffe & L Og McGovern 0-1 each.

Cork - A Nash 6; S O'Neill 8, D Cahalane 6, W Kearney 6; L McLoughlin 6, K Burke 6, C Murphy 6; D Kearney 6, A Walsh 7; C Lehane 7, S Harnedy 7, R O'Shea 7; A Spillane 6, L O'Farrell 6, P Horgan 8. Subs: P O'Sullivan 7 for Spillane (48), J Coughlan 6 for O'Farrell (52), C O'Sullivan 6 for Kearney (67), B Lawton 6 for Lehane (72), B Cooper 6 for Walsh (73).

Wexford - M Fanning 6; L Ryan 8, M O'Hanlon 6, K Foley 6; D Redmond 6, L Chin 7, E Moore 6; A Shore 7, G Sinnott 6; C McDonald 7, D Waters 6, I Byrne 6; D O'Keeffe 6, J Guiney 6, L Og McGovern 6. Subs: H Kehoe 6 for Byrne (35), S Tomkins 6 for Sinnott (60), C Devitt 6 for Og McGovern (65), P Doran 6 for Foley (69).

Ref - J McGrath (Westmeath).

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